Six years after the triggering death of Eric Garner, his mother Gwen Carr is again taking up the call by launching a petition to institute September 15 as Eric Garner Day in New York City.
The day marked what would have been Garner’s 50th birthday, had he not been brutally murdered in Staten Island during an illegal chokehold enacted by members of the NYPD, including former cop, Daniel Pantaleo.
Carr hopes the petition will make passage by the New York City Council with the support of her local councilwoman, Deborah Rose, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Speaker Corey Johnson.
“With the passing of Eric Garner Day, it is our hope that our community will collectively take a moment to remember what Eric’s death meant to the nation and how it shifted the conversation on harmful police practices”, Carr said in an email blast from from racial justice organization Color of Change.
“Imagine what it could look like with schools and work places recognizing the day as an opportunity to have important conversations about racial profiling and police brutality.
“With the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others we are reminded that despite laws being passed to protect people from police brutality, Black people continue to be subjected to racist and harmful actions. My heart breaks for these families, as they have had to mourn while also watching their loved ones become the most recent hashtags. Black people murdered by the police are not simply names–they had lives, dreams, anxieties, and hopes about the future just like my son did, and all of us do,” Carr continued.
Carr along with other organizers demonstrated on September 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn to raise awareness around the petition.
Eric Garner’s death on July 17, 2014, continued a momentum rooted in the abolitionist work of Black organizers and protesters that began centuries ago. Though the Black Lives Matter movement was spurred less than a month later with the shooting death of Michael Brown, it should not take the absence of life for the rest of America to deem Black humanity as vital. Garner was accosted for selling loose cigarettes, but what could have been a basic verbal infraction from police instead resulted in the loss of life.
Hopefully the petition gains momentum to mark a moment for the families who have lost their loved ones at the hands of police.